Unanswered Questions

Unanswered Questions

With the ADA’s annual wacky dance coming up a week from today we will head to beautiful San Diego with several questions on our mind. For instance, how the heck will companies like Livongo and One Drop justify their lofty valuations. Another that comes to mind is just what does Abbott (NYSE: ABT) have in mind when it comes to the Libre, additionally will this product receive FDA approval and if so when. Given that we’ll be in Tandem’s (NASDAQ: TNDM) home town the question is will they make any major announcements concerning their fate.

It will also be interesting to see what our friends at Johnson and Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) are doing. Are the rumors true that they are so desperate to get rid of Animas, that they are actually considering working out some sort of deal with Medtronic (NYSE: MDT). And let’s not forget about LifeScan, another unit they’d just love to unload.

What about Roche, you may remember them just what the heck are they up to. They just invested more money in Senseonics yet at the same time they have their own CGM.

The most intriguing question for us anyway is will this be the first wacky dance where we see Google and Apple make their presence felt. Now that Apple has come out of the diabetes closet and their super-secret diabetes project is no longer super-secret what’s next. We just might get a wacky dance preview on Monday when at 10am PST Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO delivers his speech at the Apple developers conference in beautiful San Jose, CA.

This matchup between these two cash rich tech titans has the potential to forever change diabetes management and could well shift the balance of power in our wacky world. It’s also true this match up could be the complete opposite and end up going nowhere in a hurry. That these two behemoths could spend millions and end up doing something all too common in this wacky world; create a small fortune while spending a large one.

As Momma Kliff was fond of saying; “Yes, money buys lots of things but it doesn’t but it doesn’t buy the most important things.” Which in the diabetes world is talent combined with a clear vision. Google for their part has shown the best and worst of this. On the plus side, they couldn’t have picked a better partner than Dexcom (NASDAQ: DXCM). Yet on the down side they couldn’t have picked a worse partner than our chardonnay guzzling friends in France. Listen we could care less that Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) invested over $250 million in this endeavor for if there is one thing everyone should know by now is that when it comes to Sanofi and diabetes partnerships the only thing they are good at is wasting money.

Still it would be foolish to underestimate either Google or Apple. Besides having gobs of money diabetes is a business they WANT to be in and don’t NEED to be in.  Neither must rush anything to market and while it would unusual they could take their time and do it right. Both can if they decided to do so become major players overnight via the acquisition route.

Yet Apple and Google aren’t the only tech titans about to play in the diabetes sandbox, Amazon, Facebook and Samsung among others all have diabetes projects underway. Like Apple and Google these companies do not need to be in diabetes they want to be in diabetes. Like Apple and Google, they do not need to rush into the market but could if they choose too.

Just in case anyone needs to be reminded this is no longer a game about hardware or drugs. That with a few rare exceptions diabetes hardware and diabetes drugs have become commodities. What matters going forward is getting patients to use the hardware and take their medications. Simply put the future is about diabetes management systems – hardware combined with drugs combined with apps software analytics algorithms coaching, etc. This game will not be won be who has the latest greatest most whiz bang way cool new toy. This game will be won by who has the best diabetes management system.